The Thomson High boys basketball team stretched its season record to 9-0 in the Jared Cook Invitational Basketball Tournament at North Gwinnett High School.
The Bulldogs, led by coach Michael Thomas, who is closing in on career victory No. 500, scored impressive wins against perennial state power Mays of Atlanta and Mercer Island High School, one of the top teams in Seattle. The Bulldogs were unable to participate in the opening game of the tournament because of a previously scheduled game with Hancock Central.
This put Thomson in the loser’s bracket entering the contests, but Thomas opted to participate because of the stiff competition the games would provide as the Bulldogs prepare to open play in a very tough Region 3 AAA. Ironically, the game against Hancock Central in Sparta on Dec. 20 was cancelled, according to coach Thomas, by McDuffie County school officials because of the violence that occurred after the football game between Hancock Central and Warren County. Thomas agreed with the decision and said the safety of Thomson’s student-athletes takes precedence over any athletic contest. Tournament directors at North Gwinnett were unwilling to change the schedule to allow the Bulldogs to enter in the first round, but Thomas still entered the tournament and came away very pleased with his team’s effort.
Wednesday, the Dogs defeated a powerful Mays High of Atlanta by a score of 76-55. Thomson was led in scoring by Ronkeem Sallywhite with 22 points and Jonathon Atkins with 15. They are two of five Bulldogs who are currently averaging in double figures for the season. Antonio Coleman added 13 points and Dewayne Williams nine. The win gave Thomas’ team an 8-0 record for the season.
Thursday’s clash with Mercer Island High School proved to be a more competitive game as the Bulldogs faced an opponent with a front line that stood 6-7, 6-6 and 6-5.
Coach Thomas described Mercer Island as a great, sound team. He said the Bulldogs triumphed because they played hard and intelligently. In a seesaw contest, the Bulldogs proved up to the task and escaped with a 64-63 win. Coleman led Thomson with 23 points, followed by Sallywhite with 15.
Thomas praised his post players, Atkins and Bi’Quavious Sturgis, in their efforts against the huge Mercer Island team. Atkins added eight points and eight rebounds and Sturgis scored six points to leave the Bulldogs with a 9-0 start to the 2011-12 season.
The Bulldogs will further prepare for their competitive region schedule by participating in the Commerce High School Christmas Tournament, Dec. 28-30.
In addition to the host team, other participants in the contest include Douglas County, Archer of Atlanta, and Madison County.
Thomson will open Region 3AAA play when it hosts Richmond Academy on Jan. 6.